‘Please come with us, Daddy,’ Katelyn pleaded.
It broke my heart.
But, tipping the scales at 211 kilos, I was far too embarrassed to be seen in public without my shirt on.
Growing up, I’d always struggled with my weight.
From an early age, I was one of the biggest kids in my class at school and never imagined that I’d be any different.
As I got older, I loved nothing more than tucking into chicken, chips, pies and pizza.
But my biggest weaknesses were munching on Gummy Bears and drinking Coke.
Gulping down around two litres every day, I couldn’t get enough of the sugary, fizzy drink.
By 20, I was already tipping the scales at 171 kilos and I barely recognised the person I saw in the mirror.
I knew I needed to change, so I decided to overhaul my diet, replacing fast food with lean protein and vegetables.
I even joined a gym and, incredibly, over the next 12 months, I managed to lose a whopping 50 kilos.
Knocked to the ground, I landed on top of my foot which was folded in half beneath me.
At hospital, surgeons placed four metal plates and 14 screws inside my foot to help hold it together.
I knew I was lucky to be alive. But the incident left me bedridden for three months, meaning I wasn’t able to train.
Instead, I fell into a deep depression and started comfort eating once again.
I was so disappointed in myself, but the worse I felt, the more I ate.
Before I knew it, I’d gained back all the weight I’d lost – plus more.
Squeezing into 7XL-sized clothes, I was the biggest I’d ever been.
When I met Ashley, she didn’t care about my size and we went on to have our beautiful girls.
Once they were old enough to run around, they’d beg me to play in the yard with them.
Though I longed to spend quality time together as a family, even a short walk would leave me feeling like I was about to have a heart attack.
Instead, I’d make myself look busy so I didn’t have to join in the fun.
Constantly feeling anxious and depressed, I couldn’t work to support my family.
They were running a Six Week Challenge where the winner of the best transformation would be awarded $10,000 cash.
For years, I’d been coming up with excuses not to embark on a healthier lifestyle. But now I realised this was a sign.
I’m going to win this! I vowed, heading inside to sign up right away.
During my first session, I struggled to last more than five minutes on the stair climber.
But, with constant encouragement from the staff and my three girls, I knew I couldn’t give up.
By cutting out things such as white bread, pasta and deep fried chicken and chips, and sticking to a balanced diet of lean protein and vegies, I could feel my clothes getting looser each week.
Spending the prize money on a trip away with my family, it felt so good to spend quality time together outside of just our living room.
And I used some of the money to splurge on new clothes since my old ones were now far too baggy.
But I knew I still had lots of work to do.
Taking Katelyn to the gym with me, she’d encourage me to keep going.
‘I’m so proud of you, Dad,’ she’d say.
Now two years on, I’ve gone from wearing 7XL-size clothes to a large, and I’ve never felt fitter.
Weighing in at 98 kilos, I’ve shed a massive 113 kilos in total – that’s more than half of what I was when I started.
I work full-time and, through exercise, I’ve also been able to get my anxiety under control.
But the best part, is being able to join in on family activities for the first time since becoming a dad.
Together with Ashley, now 31, Paige, 10, and Katelyn, seven, we go for long walks every weekend.
Before, I didn’t have the strength to walk down the road with my girls, but now I’m the one chasing them!
Best of all, my transformation has inspired Katelyn to start gymnastics and she dreams of one day competing in the Olympics.
I’m so proud to have taught her that with enough determination, she can achieve anything.